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A diversity consultant says real change may hit the tech industry due to the George Floyd protests and the coronavirus crisis. Silicon Valley hasn't changed much after past scrutiny, but this time...

A diversity consultant says real change may hit the tech industry due to the George Floyd protests and the coronavirus crisis. Silicon Valley hasn't changed much after past scrutiny, but this time...
ReadySet



Silicon Valley has long had a diversity problem, but in the past the industry has largely been able to evade addressing it.




But a combination of the coronavirus crisis and the protests over the death of George Floyd have led to a new moment in the Valley where it may be finally forced to contend with its own legacy of systemic racism, said Y-Vonne Hutchinson, CEO of ReadySet and an expert on inclusion and diversity issues.




People inside and outside tech companies are no longer as enthralled with the industry as they once were, and are more willing to call the companies out for failing to address race and diversity problems, she said.




With the economy depressed by the coronavirus crisis, companies can't simply get back to business as usual as they have in the past, she said.




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The ongoing protests over the killing of George Floyd and police brutality have trained a spotlight on systemic racism and the lack of inclusion all around the country, including in Silicon Valley.
The tech industry had already come under scrutiny many times for its hiring, promotion, funding, and business practices as they pertained to the treatment of women, blacks, and other people of color. But usually, after some initial tumult and the occasional promise to do better, the Valley quickly got back to business as usual.
Y-Vonne Hutchinson thinks this time around is likely to be different. It's not so much that the tech industry has changed, but the context has — there's no "normal" to return to. The coronavirus crisis has forced many out of work, killed more than 100,000 people in the US, and shown the ineptitude of the government, said Hutchinson, the CEO of ReadySet. The pandemic has also forced many people to stay home, where they're seeing videos of the protests that depict a deeply disturbing picture of how policing is conducted in this country.
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